HAMMOND, La. — Hurricane Ida caused a housing crisis for tens of thousands of families in Southeast Louisiana. They are essentially homeless and struggling to find a new place to live.
Ashante Robinson is one of them. She can't find any open apartments or rental homes.
"I'm just trying to find a roof over my head," she said.
Her Hammond home of 12 years is gone.
"I actually just finished paying it off two weeks before the storm," Robinson said. It's destroyed, completely destroyed."
Robinson, her son, and her parents whose home is also now unlivable are all staying with friends as the search for an apartment or rental home has felt hopeless.
"I've tried Covington, Slidell," she said. "It's horrible. They said the waiting list is six to 12 months before they have anything available."
Vacancies are few and far between
"There was a housing crisis going into this storm especially for affordable housing, now it's been exasperated to a full-blown crisis where we cant find a lot of people places to live," Jonathan Maki, a realtor with McEnery Realty in New Orleans said. "Places are going fast and the unfortunate thing is rents are being raised."
He said with so many displaced, Ida has caused a housing crisis, unlike anything he's seen before.
"We have never in my time seen bidding wars for rentals," he said.
He is seeing rental prices jump 20, sometimes 40 percent, making the search even more difficult.
"Like things I know that were under $1,000, now they're $14-15,000," Robinson said.
Maki said your insurance may cover a high temporary housing cost.
"We're seeing a lot of that, even insurers that are paying a lot more than you think they would," Maki said.
He advises contacting realtors to help you search. That will not cost you, the renter.
He also said if you find something, don't sit on it.
"Sometimes you might have to take something sight unseen right now," Maki said.
Beware of scammers though, who can target people searching on rental sites.
"Just hope and pray and wait. I've been put on several waiting lists for apartments, homes for rent," Robinson said. "Everyone is trying to get the same thing, a place to live."
Maki said if you have property like a second home or Airbnb, consider listing it for temporary housing now.